Strictly Discs

October 6, 2022

Nobody makes the case for pop music as a mode of benevolent mind control than BEYONCE. Her multiple talents (voice, dance, executive production, conceptual choreography, message discipline) are already long enshrined, from "Single Ladies" to 'Lemonade', so all she has to be on 'Renaissance' is herself, and she immediately has her vast audience under her complete command. Part of submitting yourself to the peerage of a pop icon is trusting that they know what's good for you, so when they say "we're gonna fuck up the night", you know what the plan is. Motivational energy aside, 'Renaissance' is a real sonic gift: the samples, interpolations, guest producers and musicians here make this album a living museum exhibit of the primarily black and brown history of global dance music, from disco to ballroom to trap. Grace Jones, Donna Summer, Lidell Townsell, Kelman Duran, Big Freedia, Robin S, The-Dream, Raphael Saadiq, the Clark Sisters, and the Neptunes... just a short list of the ingredients of this endless buffet, stitched together continuously like a classic Chuck Chillout late-night radio session. Speaking of Pharrell, he's reunited with one of his most potent partners in PUSHA T, who drills down to the basics of his immaculate, bone-chilling flow on 'It's Almost Dry', his fourth and perhaps best solo album since the dissoution of the Clipse. Few statement rap records made such a blunt impact than DEATH GRIPS' infamously bewanged 2012 album 'No Love Deep Web'. The record turns ten this year, which means if you lost your shit to this back then, it might be time for you to be heading to bed now. Brand new cover art on this edition, properly summing up its F the World energy with slightly more nuance than the original, on coke bottle clear wax. Deep into his career, the infrequent albums from ACTION BRONSON grow more fascinatingly trippy, and'Cocodrillo Turbo' sends you farther out than ever.
The folk-rock trio BONNY LIGHT HORSEMAN (Anas Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson from Fruit Bats, and Josh Kaufman) return their abundance of easygoing, earnestly retro tunes on 'Rolling Golden Holy'. The long-awaited second installment of the BROKEN HEARTS & DIRTY WINDOWS tribute to John Prine has a staggering cast: Iris Dement, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Isbell, Valerie June, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile and several more luminaries take on tunes from the foundational songwriter. No-frills modern folkie NOAH GUNDERSEN returns with 'A Pillar Of Salt' on limited white vinyl, while contemporary country singer COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS delivers an unfussy, intimate gem with 'Loose Future'.
Canadian indie-pop diviners ALVVAYS have slowly built an astronomical following with their undeniably hooky guitar-pop that never seems to lose its flavor, ramping up expectations for third album 'Blue Rev' that is sounding like it could be their best yet. Compact fuzzballs of songs that zing clean through your brain. They'd make a great bill alongside Madison's own DISQ, the power-pop braintrust who deliver their second album for Saddle Creek, 'Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet' (so *that's* what it stands for!) on limited color vinyl, seamlessly stitching together a jangly melange of bluesy emo like Paul Westerberg jamming with Rainer Maria. Oh if anyone's seen their guitarist Logan around, let him know he's at 4 on used LPs on the Buy 12. The Swedish psych-pop institution known as DUNGEN has permanently fused past and present into a paisleyed future for decades now, and yet still continue to deliver their strongest work! 'En Ar For Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog' steps back from the fusion ledge of 2015's 'Allas Sak', delving back into the boreal, downright autumnal (I said it!) vibes of their early stuff, while making room for plenty of successful experiments like the jungle-style freakout "Var Har Du Varit?" Back this one up with a reissue of Korean bedroom act MID-AIR THIEF's 2018 classic 'Crumbling', which manages a rather surprisingly comparable mix of quick-paced, shoegazy leftfield brilliance from the other side of the globe.
A pair of essential albums from MAC MILLER get official new releases this week, and our supply is adequate but will still go quick. 'Circles' gets a standard reissue, while the 2012 mixtape 'Macadelic' gets its first legit release ten years on, with a nice embossed cover. The long time out of stock, often requested 'Plastic Beach' from GORILLAZ, is back in print, alongside 'Nymph', the debut album from London post-trap popster SHYGIRL.
Guitarist GRANT GREEN got really right with his maker on 1963's 'Feelin The Spirit', a collection of traditional spirituals that gets the Tone Poet treatment this week, including a roof-raising rendition of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen". Ahead of their historic appearance at Cafe Coda here in town, we have new material from the SUN RA ARKESTRA directed by MARSHALL ALLEN; 'Living Sky' contains meditations on some obscure Sun Ra pieces and an extended take on Chopin, and features beautiful cover art by Damon Locks. Veteran South African pianist NDUDUZO MAKHATHINI brings us his second album for Blue Note with 'In the Spirit of Ntu', a deeply observant yet accessible album featuring some entrancing vocal duets. A 2016 session from guitarist JEFF PARKER comes through in a limited edition from RogueArt, with the fearless picker in a trio alongside bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits.
Grateful Dead mainstay BOB WEIR returns with a second installment of 'Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: Live in Colorado', again available in a limited Third Man color pressing which is en route. TOM WAITS's's 2002 dark cabaret gem 'Blood Money' gets a 20th anniversary edition on silver wax. The Philly soul group HONEY & THE BEES cut some irresistible singles and one very rare LP in 'Love', rescued with a new edition this week, alongside the heavily-sampled mellow funk of LITTLE BEAVER's essential album 'Party Down' which, like all proper classics in the party genre, contains songs that instruct you to party, and songs that happen once you've done a little too much of it.
Greenwich Village denizen DAVID BLUE played with the Rolling Thunder Revue, (he's the "Baby Blue" of said Dylan tune), and is likely most recognized for his role as the milkman in Neil Young's "Human Highway" film. He also cut some deeply under-appreciated albums for Asylum, including 1971's 'Stories', a ramshackle, revealing album of liminal country rock perhaps too cerebral for its time, which gets a nice bespoke reissue this week. Fittingly, it's delivered alongside fresh edition of his dear friend JONI MITCHELL's 'Blue' which she recorded while they were hanging out a great deal! Hmm! Make even extra room on your femme folk icon shelf with a pair of reissues from SANDY DENNY, including her 1972 self-titled masterpiece which makes a lot of desert island lists.
A pair of crucial slabs back in print capture the inevitable moment when the Latin label Salsoul went all in on disco. DOUBLE EXPOSURE's 'Ten Percent' rode the immense wave of their single by the same name, widely considered to be the first commercially available disco twelve of all time. INSTANT FUNK's debut is one of the most jam-packed albums of their entire Philly soul scene. A nice comp called 'La edad de oro de la cumbia colombiana' captures rare gems, and a repress of the MISSING BRAZILIANS mighty album 'Warzone' brings back one of Adrian Sherwood's most delicately balanced albums of ethereal dubwise pop-concrete.
Frankfurt producer ROMAN FLUGEL has been cranking out eclectic techno of high quality on a seemingly monthly basis since the late 90s. His latest effort, 'Balmy Evening', is his first release for the cerebral Tokyo institution Mule Musiq and it delivers a nice head rub. The KOMPAKT label stays at it with the latest installment in their long-running Total series, capturing the latest nuggets of Berlin's acid scene. Ghana-based dance trio NYAMEKYE JUNCTION turn in a flawless EP of daydreamy broken beat with 'Dasein', featuring some very killer live drums. Few are doing high-gloss nu-disco any better than SATIN JACKETS, who return with a cracking new disc called 'Reunion'.
'All Of Us Flames' is the name of the latest, greatest album from EZRA FURMAN, braiding clever hints of ancient doo-wop into a comfortingly direct personal account of her experiences transitioning. An odds and ends collection called 'Pieces Of Driftwood' is a fantastic introduction to the exceedingly low-key New Zealand folk singer MAXINE FUNKE, whose previous albums have gained wider audiences primarily through word of mouth, and whisk you into a twilit bedsit within a few hushed notes. Manchester dream-poppers THE ORIELLES expand their echoic, surfy sound significantly on 'Tableau', and we get a crucial new record from the slow burning guitar duo ELKHORN; on 'Distances', they welcome a pair of drummers to their dichotomy with exquisite results.
The crunch of leaves underfoot, the ambient pumpkin spiciness of dang near can only mean one thing: its Rocktober, by gum. The Rhino reissue campaign kicks off with a pair of musts from THE CARS, plus the TALKING HEADS record that really changed the whole style up: 'Remain In Light'! While we have em, there are some very nice Talking Heads tote bags to be had with purchase. It ain't Rocktober sanctioned but we've also got a slew of great records from THE KINKS back in print!
More reissues this week bring about some unlikely pairings. All-female sludge rockers L7 get lumped in with grunge and riot grrl but they actually predate both of those movements, coming out of the 80s LA punk scene. Two 90s classics from them are back in print this week: 'Hungry For Stink' and 'The Beauty Process'. Before ditching the guitars and the Tempel as Ashra, German hallucinogenics enthusiast Manuel Gottsching let some powerful heavy psych slabs rip as ASH RA TEMPEL. Two of those are back in print this week: 'Join Inn' and 'Seven Up', which features vocals from none other than TIMOTHY LEARY. Nobody touch anything!
A delicious new compilation called SPRING SNOW summons a nice crew of newer ambient artists reflecting on the concept of nostalgia. Frenchman ROMEO POIRIER delivers his first album for Jan Jelinek's Faitiche label; 'Living Room' fits in perfectly with its warm glow of ahistorical wooze. Few establish as vivid a gloom as UK vet PYE CORNER AUDIO; he taps Ride guitarist Andy Bell for a new album called 'Let's Emerge!' that marks a very cool evolution of his sound. Frequent Ulrich Schnauss collaborator MARK PETERS breaks off a gorgeous new album of pastoral folk bliss on 'Red Sunset Dreams'.
Genius avant-jazz composer EIKO ISHIBASHI made waves with her stellar soundtrack for 'Drive My Car' last year, and she returns with another stunner on 'For McCoy', which is indeed an homage to Jack McCoy from Law and Order. Swaggering lo-fi vets OLD TIME RELIJUN, led by Arrington de Dionyso, return with a rollicking new disc called 'Musicking'. Ambient electro pioneer COSEY FANNI TUTTI lends her studio sorcery to a soundtrack of a new film about the life of synth pioneer Delia Derbyshire, and we've got a delirious new reissue of an old MUSLIMGAUZE classic.

Used Vinyl Alert

Heading downstairs for this week's new arrivals, we start off with a strong stack of LPs from recently departed country music legend Loretta Lynn, alongside a number of other country classics from Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty & others.

Punk is in this week from The Clash, The Stooges, The Ramones, Bad Religion, The Minutemen, & Sex Pistols. Must-have rock LPs are here from Velvet Underground, Brian Eno, Queen, The Kinks, The Smiths, The Replacements, Kate Bush, Talking Heads, Michael Hurley & many more.

Soul is here from names like Sly & The Family Stone, Leroy Hutson, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, Bobby Womack, Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson, & The Jackson 5. A nice selection of blues LPs are in as well, from Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed, Taj Mahal, & others.

Primo jazz picks this week include Miles Davis, Count Basie, Cal Tjader, Charlie Palmieri, Wes Montgomery, Willie Bobo, Sonny Rollins, Terry Gibbs, & more.

Another nice spread of soundtracks & children's records this week (some still factory sealed!), along with some seldom-seen international LPs, a small stash of Halloween (more to come!), as well as some lovely Deutsche Grammophon classical LPs.

Black Friday Record Store Day is November 25th

Strictly Discs will be the place to be this Post-Thanksgiving-Shopping-Melee-Day, also known as Black Friday.

And that's because certain indie stores across the country will be the place to get special releases created just for you, for giving and getting this holiday season, and they're scheduled for release on Black Friday, November 25, 2022.

Now, this is not Record Store Day, Jr., but it is brought to you by the powers-that-be at Record Store Day. This is a group of special releases you can only find at certain independent record stores nationwide. The magic of these pieces (many uber-limited) is that every one of them is something someone will really LOVE to get, and you'll really ENJOY giving. And you may have the added nice feeling of supporting a local, independently owned (Strictly Discs, Independently Owned since 1988) business during the holidays.
Here is Strictly Discs' plan for the day:

1. We OPEN at 9AM for RSD shopping
2. Line to form westbound on Monroe Street
3. While in line, you will be handed a menu of all RSD/BF titles
4. We will pull your requests & you will check out outside
5. The shop will open for normal browsing at approximately 10 (when the RSD line is gone)
6. RSD titles will be located upstairs

Thank you for helping us to keep this event safe & fun.

WISHLISTS can be made using the link below:

The deadline to create or modify a RSD BLACK FRIDAY WISH LIST is Wednesday, September 28th at NOON.


Yes, we are still buying! Call Ron to schedule (608.213.3610).
Ron, Ryan, Angie, Marty, Evan, Matt, Ed, Eric, Jack, Steve, Mark, Brad, Roger, & Adam
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